Standing on the edge of forever for 30 years: Take That talk ahead of Birmingham shows
Britain’s favourite pop band are back on the road as Take That bring their Greatest Hits Live tour to the UK. Gary, Mark and Howard will return to the West Midlands next week to headline Birmingham’s Arena, with dates on May 12-14 and 16-19.
The tour coincides with the band’s 30th anniversary and the trio – now shorn of Robbie Williams and Jason Orange – are celebrating that milestone with a massive UK arena and stadium tour.
Their longevity and ability to create relevant, timeless pop music has taken Take That to the summit of British pop music and their re-imagined greatest hits album ‘Odyssey’ has helped them to cement their place as one of Britain’s greatest ever pop bands.
Fans can look forward to a flamboyant and theatrical tour production, with the 2019 edition set to be their biggest and best yet.
The band returned in 2006 with their comeback album, Beautiful World, which went onto become their biggest seller.
The trio are thrilled to be on the road, after almost coming to an end when Jason Orange left. A documentary had charted the band’s story.
Frontman Gary Barlow remembers: “We’d all kept in touch, sort of, but not much. I remember being very wary of doing anything in public at that point. But we felt quite good (after the documentary) because Rob had said some really nice things about us. I remember us all feeling it was gonna be alright.”
Williams returned in 2010 before departing once more while Jason Orange left the band in 2014. Though his departure could have split the band, they managed to stay friends. He sends them good luck messages from time to time, via email.
Mark Owen says it’s hard to remember why things went so wrong for the band, given how well they all get on now. “The energy’s changed now. It’s just open. Everyone communicates in a better way. I don’t know how things turned sour.”
Barlow admits it could have come undone, however, when the band went down to a three-piece.
“I just couldn’t see it as a three and it didn’t help that we’d been a five. We watched what the fanbase were feeling and of course they don’t want you to go anywhere. But at some point the question had to come back to us. In the end we thought, why don’t we just get in the studio and let the music decide for us. Very early on, we found These Days. It sounded like a hit record straight away, so once that arrived I think we were good.”
Odyssey has proved to be one of the band’s most popular albums – and that’s no surprise given that it’s packed with hits.
Donald says: “When we did the 30 years album we’ve actually revamped three or four of the songs and gone back to the other ones to bring them up to the sound quality of today. When you play the old tapes through the desk and you hear vocals from the 90s when we first started recording it’s quite an emotional moment, really. It does bring back memories of being in the studio and singing those vocals, also at the same time it’s unbelievable it’s 30 years from 1989.
“When you’re creating a new album you always go back to the last album or with this more you go back to the first album. There’s so many different sections, so many different areas of our career where one minute you’re a five-piece then you’re a four-piece then you’re back to a five-piece then you’re down to a three-piece, it does bring back the memories especially when you hear the songs.
“Each and every song reminds you of those times when you did your video or when you first sung it, when you first went on Top of the Pops, when you got your first Number One – there’s certain things attached to it.”
“Jason and Robbie obviously played a part in the greatest hits because they were part of the 90s and Robbie’s on the Progress album and Jason was on that and Beautiful Life and The Circus albums, so their vocals appear throughout. It’s not necessarily in a brand new vocal or a brand new song, it’s nothing to do with that, it’s just that they are part of Take That – or they were part of Take That – in certain areas of our career, so yes, they are on the album and there is a new version of Everything Changes where we kept Robbie’s original vocals.”
The band have no plans to slow down – though they have ruled out losing another member and going down to a two.
As far as Donald is concerned, there’s no end in sight to the Take That dynasty.
“You can go on forever. There are countries we’ve never been to or we’ve never been big in. We want to go to South America and do gigs out there. America, for instance, we had a Number Seven there with Back For Good but we’ve never actually been big there. That’s not something I ever wished for, to be honest, to big in America because once you’re big in America you can’t really go anywhere, can you?”